Unit 26, Day 1: Colossians

New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students, 2015


Introduction

The Apostle Paul taught of Jesus Christ’s preeminence (superiority, greatness, or excellence) and warned against false doctrine. He encouraged the Colossian Saints to set their affections on heavenly things and develop the characteristics of Christ. Paul also instructed them to be gracious and wise in their interactions with others.

Colossians 1–2

Paul teaches of Jesus Christ’s preeminence and warns against false doctrine

drawing, trees and roots

Imagine two trees of similar size—one with shallow roots and one with deep roots. If a severe windstorm came, which of those trees would be most likely to fall? Why? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Elder Neil L. Andersen

Read the following statement by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, looking for the type of whirlwinds we need to beware of: “More concerning than the prophesied earthquakes and wars [of the last days] are the spiritual whirlwinds that can uproot you from your spiritual foundations and land your spirit in places you never imagined possible, sometimes with your barely noticing that you have been moved” (“Spiritual Whirlwinds,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 18).

What are some examples of spiritual whirlwinds that can uproot or separate us from our faith in Jesus Christ? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Why can these spiritual whirlwinds be more troubling than physical challenges, such as earthquakes or wars?

Ponder for a moment what spiritual whirlwinds might be affecting you.

The Apostle Paul wrote an epistle to the Church members in Colossae after learning about influences and false teachings there that threatened to uproot them from their faith in Jesus Christ. As you study Colossians, look for how Paul sought to strengthen the Church members’ faith in Christ and for the blessings of having deeply rooted faith in Christ.

Colossae is a site in modern-day Turkey. Look on Bible Maps, no. 13, “The Missionary Journeys of the Apostle Paul,” and locate the city of Laodicea on the map. Colossae was approximately 11 miles (17.7 kilometers) southeast of Laodicea.

As recorded in Colossians 1:1–11, Paul greeted the Saints in Colossae and acknowledged their faithfulness. He explained that the gospel brings forth fruit, or blessings, in the lives of those who accept and live it. Paul then taught the Saints about Jesus Christ.

Read Colossians 1:12–19, looking for truths Paul taught about Jesus Christ. You may want to mark or note in your scriptures what you find. The phrase “translated us” in verse 13 means “changed us”; the word invisible in verse 15 means “unseen.”

Colossians 1:12–19 teaches the following truth about Jesus Christ: Jesus Christ is the Redeemer, the firstborn of Heavenly Father’s spirit children, the Creator of all things, the head of the Church, and the first to be resurrected.

  1. journal icon1.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      Why do you think it is important for us to know and believe these truths about Jesus Christ?

    2. b.

      How can knowing and believing these truths strengthen our faith in Him?

Paul taught that Jesus Christ is our Redeemer (see Colossians 1:14). Read Colossians 1:20–22, looking for what Paul taught the Colossian Saints about their need for a Redeemer.

According to verse 21, how does someone become alienated, or separated, from God?

The word reconcile (see Colossians 1:20–21) means to bring into agreement or harmony. According to Colossians 1:20–22, how did Jesus Christ reconcile us to God? (The phrase “made peace through the blood of his cross” [verse 20] refers to the Atonement of Jesus Christ.)

The blessing of being reconciled to God is conditional. Read Colossians 1:23, looking for what is required to be reconciled to God.

To “continue in the faith grounded and settled” (Colossians 1:23) means to remain steadfast in our faith in Jesus Christ by keeping His commandments and repenting of our sins. From Colossians 1:20–23 we learn the following truth: We can be reconciled to God through the Atonement of Jesus Christ if we continue to be grounded and settled in our faith.

  1. journal icon2.

    Recall the condition of the two trees from earlier in this lesson. Then answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      Who do you know who is like the tree with deep roots—grounded and settled in his or her faith in Christ?

    2. b.

      How is his or her example a blessing to you?

Recall the whirlwind that was buffeting those two trees. Read Colossians 2:4, 8, looking for the spiritual whirlwinds that were threatening to uproot the Colossian Saints.

At that time there were several philosophies and traditions being taught by some people who were trying to diminish the importance of Jesus Christ. Other false religious philosophies that were gaining popularity were that angels were mediators for God that should be worshipped and the idea that the body is evil (see Colossians 2:16–23).

Why would believing false teachings, including teachings that diminish the importance of Jesus Christ, make it easy for someone to be spiritually uprooted?

Read Colossians 2:6–7, looking for the counsel Paul gave to help the Saints avoid being led astray by worldly philosophies and traditions.

From these verses we learn the following truth: By being rooted and built up in Jesus Christ, we can avoid being led astray by worldly philosophies and traditions.

  1. journal icon3.

    Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      What do you believe is one of the most important things we can do to be rooted and built up in Jesus Christ?

    2. b.

      Why do you believe that particular thing is so important?

Consider the following statement by Elder Andersen as he continued his talk on spiritual whirlwinds:

Elder Neil L. Andersen

“The worst whirlwinds are the temptations of the adversary. Sin has always been part of the world, but it has never been so accessible, insatiable, and acceptable. There is, of course, a powerful force that will subdue the whirlwinds of sin. It is called repentance.

“Not all the whirlwinds in life are of your own making. Some come because of the wrong choices of others, and some come just because this is mortality. …

“How do you prepare for your whirlwinds? ‘Remember … it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, … his shafts in the whirlwind, … when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power … to drag you down … because of the rock upon which ye are built’ [Helaman 5:12]. This is your safety in the whirlwind” (“Spiritual Whirlwinds,” 18–19).

  1. journal icon4.

    Recall those personal spiritual whirlwinds that you thought about at the beginning of this lesson. In your scripture study journal, record what you will do to remain rooted and built up in Jesus Christ and to avoid being uprooted by spiritual whirlwinds.

Colossians 3–4

Paul encourages the Colossians to set their affections on heavenly things and be wise

As recorded in Colossians 3–4, the Apostle Paul urged the Colossian Saints to stop their unrighteousness and develop the characteristics of Jesus Christ. He also encouraged them to be prayerful and wise, especially in their interactions with those who were not Christians. He then relayed the greetings of several of his fellow servants, including Luke.

  1. journal icon5.

    Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Colossians and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: